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Censorship China Government Privacy Your Rights Online

RSF Names Names In Report On Online Spying 29

eldavojohn writes "Reporters without Borders has released a report on governments and the companies they employ to spy on their own citizens online. Syria and China were singled out as the worst with Iran, Bahrain and Vietnam not far behind. In addition, RSF named names when it came to the corporate entities (a market worth 5 billion dollars) that provided specific services to these oppressive governments: Gamma, Trovicor, Hacking Team, Amesys and Blue Coat. The report is aptly titled 'Enemies of the Internet' and, though lengthy, provides a detailed examination in the destruction of online rights as well as very specific attacks each government employs. RSF also noted the many attempted solutions to these problems and a link to their online survival kit."
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RSF Names Names In Report On Online Spying

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  • by Looker_Device ( 2857489 ) * on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @08:48AM (#43147761)

    While I realize that censorship and monitoring are nowhere nearly as bad in the U.S. and Europe as they are in the included countries (though perhaps more insidious for its subtlety and secrecy), I still would very much like a public shaming of the contractors who are helping those governments too. As big as the homeland security contractor craze [] has gotten in the U.S., you can't tell me that there aren't a bunch of companies out there happily helping the U.S. spy on its citizens (and you can bet it's happening in Europe and other Western countries too).

    • by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @09:08AM (#43147883)

      Any info from Reporters w/o Borders should be taken with a large grain of salt - is a dubious organization at best, a propaganda mouth piece for special interests. References:

      "Reporters Without Borders Unmasked" []

      "Reporters Without Borders seems to have a geopolitical agenda" []

      "Source Watch: Reporters Without Borders" []

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I don't know for the others, but your source on is amongst the worst sources you can find. This is a network rather conspiratist-oriented (9/11 is an inside job, etc.), with a strong influence of Lyndon LaRouche []

      • Agreed, RSF used to be just US propaganda outlet, but there is a little sign that things may be changing: in this report,they criticized Barhain, which since now has been ignored just like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, probably because they are US allies.
    • Well, as the submitter I guess I'm the only person to read the article so I guess I have to collect only the bits you're interested in (emphases for your benefit):

      Twitter launched its own transparency report in July 2012. It focuses on user data requests by governments (the United States made the most requests) and on content removal requests by governments or copyright holders. Twitter has also undertaken to leave a “Tweet withheld” message whenever a Tweet is removed in response to a complaint from a copyright holder and to send a copy of each takedown notice to the Chilling Effects website.

      Opponents of the proposed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA) say it will allow privacy to be violated in order to protect cyber-security. Although it seemed to have broad support in the US Congress, it caused such an outcry that substantial revisions were made to increase protection for privacy, the White House threatened a veto and a sizeable number of representatives ended up voting against it. A new version of CISPA was resubmitted in January 2013 and could come before Congress as early as April 2013.

      United States

      The proposed "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) and "Protect IP Act" (PIPA) elicited a great deal of domestic and international criticism of the danger of unprecedented Internet censorship. Their opponents said they would prejudice countless Internet users who had never violated intellectual property by forcing websites to block access to other sites accused of vaguely defined copyright violations. The bills were finally shelved, but for how long?

      Trial of WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning

      US Army Private Bradley Manning confessed before a court martial on 28 February 2013 that he passed military and diplomatic files to WikiLeaks, including US embassy cables, the files of Guantanamo detainees and videos of air strikes in which civilians were killed, in particular the “Collateral Murder” video that showed a US helicopter crew killing Reuters journalists. He said his motive was to enlighten the public about what goes on and to “spark a debate about foreign policy.” He explained that he initially tried to give the files to the New York Times andWashington Post but could not find anyone who seemed interested. He also claimed that he chose the material with care in order to ensure that it would not cause any harm. Manning is facing up to 20 years in prison. Many NGOs have criticized the conditions in which he was being held as humiliating.

      The European Union and many member countries were criticized as well but you can just read the report instead of having me repost the entire thing. Also, I find your logic laughable:

      While I realize that censorship and monitoring are nowhere nearly as bad in the U.S. and Europe as they are in the included countries (though perhaps more insidious for its subtlety and secrecy)

      By this logic, it is the Government of Antarctica that we truly have to watch out for. Their efforts of censorship are not nearly as bad as the U.S. and Europe (thou

      • It's more insidious because, while I dare say that pretty much every halfway informed citizen in China, Syria, etc. know the basics about their government's censorship and spying activities (is there seriously any internet user in China who DOESN'T know about the "great firewall"?), but there are very few citizens in the U.S. who know about the existence of NSA "black rooms" [] capable of intercepting voice and data traffic at major telecommunications hubs throughout the U.S. If you stopped random internet use

      • Every time the US or EU attempts to censor something, it makes Slashdot's front page. Are you really so naive as to think they're so much more sophisticated than China that we can't detect the worst things they're doing?

        I'll leave the source of this next quote as an exercise to the reader

        The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.

        What the NY Times narrative leaves out is that the lead journalist on the story had a book coming out,
        and the NY Times wanted to break the story before the book did.

        I'm sure there are plenty of stories that have never seen the light of day,
        because media organizations like the NY Times agree with the government not to publish.

    • I don't think you could be sure that the US isn't the #1 snoop on the planet.

      They've been building a MASSIVE data center -- I believe in Colorado (after the one in Utah). It could well be "private company" run, as that would make it "legal" with a few hand washing exercises.

      We learned that AT&T sought and received indemnity for copying their entire pipe to the NSA during some internal spying investigations.

      So no -- the only reason they can't list where the US is on the list of "spying on citizens" is be

  • This is abysmal.
  • PARIS â" Syria, China, Iran, Bahrain and Vietnam are flagrantly spying online, media watchdog RSF said Tuesday, urging controls on the export of Internet surveillance tools to regimes clamping down on dissent.
    A new report entitled "Enemies of the Internet" also singled out five companies -- Gamma, Trovicor, Hacking Team, Amesys and Blue Coat -- that it branded "digital era mercenaries," who were helping oppressive governments. ....

    RSF called for a ban on the sale of surveillance hardware and software to countries that flout basic fundamental rights and crack down on any opposition.

    "The private sector cannot be expected to police itself. Legislators must intervene," it said.

    "The European Union and the United States have already banned the export of surveillance technology to Iran and Syria. This praiseworthy initiative should not be an isolated one."

    So the conclusion is that 'private sector cannot police itself and legislator must intervene', when in reality it is legislators that legislate that such tools must be used to control the population in the first place?

    This passes for logic nowadays?

    First of all: private sector only fulfils a demand and it doesn't matter if the demand is generated by individuals and markets or governments, it will be fulfilled, because there is money in it.

    Secondly: the problem is created by governments, how is it going to b

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @09:53AM (#43148267) Journal

      " when in reality it is legislators that legislate that such tools must be used to control the population in the first place?"

      In other news, using an army to stop an invasion is futile; because armies are what invade in the first place!

      'Legislators' aren't some sort of global hive mind. The theory is that legislators in jurisdiction A would take action to prevent companies in jurisdiction A from aiding legislators in jurisdiction B from oppressing jurisdiction B. Since, as you say, the private sector is (or at least enough of it is that you can usually get what you want) amoral and mercenary, the only check on mercenaries in jurisdiction A would be either the total impoverishment of jurisdiction B, which would leave them unable to buy weapons, or coercive legislative pressure.

      In practice, the likelihood of this actually happening has more to do with perceived national interest than any fancy talk about human rights. We are currently rooting for Syria's collapse, so some amount of legal pressure against those who assist Syria is quite likely(in the US, Russia the reverse). Bahrain, by contrast, is our bestest ever US Navy Fifth Fleet buddy, so it is exceedingly unlikely that anything more than cosmetic expressions of displeasure are to be expected.

    • Wheels within wheels. I hate to suggest it, but maybe some of these tools allow western governments to spy on these countries.

      So, gentlemen, keep up your good work as unaware dupe obfuscators. Maybe.

    • Wow, you took both sides of the argument in scarcely 24 hours. Well done, sir.

      Yesterday you wrote that the federal government must take control []:

      federal gov't was supposed to prevent individual States from setting rules that would for example require re-licensing of businesses and different professionals from one state to another

      In other words, that the federal government must prevent states from doing anything that prevents profit.

      Now, today you are instead arguing that they should not:

      the problem is created by governments, how is it going to be solved by governments? In fact it will be private sector that will solve this problem

      So yesterday you wanted more federal government, today you want less. Which is it? Which argument are you trying to make and why can't you decide that? And how will your church help us with it?


No extensible language will be universal. -- T. Cheatham